Just like many other things in life, there are many myths and tips about divorce that are shared and fly around, most of which are unsubstantiated, and if followed, can lead to disastrous mistakes – sometimes with permanent consequences. What might have worked for your friend that just got divorced may or may not work for you, and if they aren’t a divorce attorney, it is probably best to take what they say with a grain of salt. With that being said, although most divorces have their own twists and variables, the divorce system has been in place for a while, and there are a few general guidelines that anyone getting a divorce should adhere to. Here are 3 common mistakes that you would be wise to avoid making:
- Don’t act on emotion.
I want to start with this mistake because I don’t only feel it is the most present mistake in almost every divorce, but also I feel it is the one that often has the most short-term impact. The divorce process is going to make you feel a range of emotions, most of them “negative”, like anger, fear, resentment, and I find rage to be a common one as well. However, these emotions need to be kept out of negotiations, because they only serve to cloud your mind and prevent you from amicably coming to an agreement. Moreover, it is important to carry yourself in a manner that doesn’t lead the court to have a cause for concern. For example, if you and your spouse have a toxic and rather aggressive relationship, it is feasible that you might get into a text/email exchange, and before you know it, you are writing profanity-ridden messages that they can then bring to court and portray you as a raving lunatic. If you have children, and want to be awarded custody, an incident such as this can hurt your chances.
- Being stubborn beyond reason.
For some, the idea of compromising and meeting their spouse halfway in negotiations sounds absurd (especially if you feel that they never met you halfway). But let’s face it: you are going to get nowhere if you are unwilling to even consider what you soon-to-be ex has to say in terms of negotiations, and unless you want to spend months upon years in litigation battles and spend a fortune on legal fees, its time to put down your fists and work towards some kind of middle ground. Not only will it help the entire process move along much faster, but the court, and hopefully your spouse, will see that you are willing to cooperate, and might be more willing to give you some of what you are looking for. Also, your children will benefit by a speedy divorce process that isn’t filled with drama and repetitive battles.
- Retain a divorce attorney.
I’ve spoken about it before in my article titled “Why You Have To Think Twice About Doing A Do-It-Yourself Divorce”, but I will repeat it again. Short of using a mediator to settle your divorce, representing yourself in a divorce trial is a terrible, terrible idea. To drive this point home, most divorce attorneys will not represent themselves in their own divorce, because they understand how poorly it can turn out (talk about practicing what you preach!). There are so many documents that need to be filed with the court, so many records that you need to both send to and receive from your spouse’s attorney, and so much legal jargon you would need to be familiar with, you really are better off retaining a divorce attorney to handle this for you. These can be difficult enough when you aren’t dealing with an emotional roller-coaster, so throw in all the sleepless nights and erratic feelings, you are bound to make many, many mistakes, and the divorce proceedings are the very last place you can afford to be misrepresented, and to be making mistakes that may not be fixable later on.